* Posts by hammarbtyp

1178 posts • joined 28 Nov 2007


Somebody is destined for somewhere hot, and definitely not Coventry


Hot Stuff

We had similar issues - biggest problem was that we wrote industrial control systems for large foundries, but our emails addressing the issues on hot strip mills kept getting silently blocked.

Dog eats UK government's Hydrogen Strategy homework just as summer recess arrives


Re: Yet again, what about tidal power?

The problems with tidal are a) there are only a few suitable sites. yes, i know that tides happen everywhere, but you need a good fall to get useful energy, such as the River Severn. Even then the generation is not constant. Secondly it needs a large barrier which has effects on local ecology, marine navigation, coast erosion. The idea of putting turbines in the tidal flow, obviously removes some of those objections, but you need to add the engineering issues, cost of maintenance etc. Again there are only a few suitable sites.

Pump storage again is limited to a few locations.

You could also add wave power to the list, which has been looked at for many years, and never really gone with.

There are many possible solutions, but there are a lot more factors than just getting the power out

Sir Tim Berners-Lee's World Wide Web NFT fetches $5.4m at auction while rest of us gaze upon source code for $0


The emperors new virtual clothes

This has become a big thing for photographers after a few made the kind of money in a single auction those selling in the traditional means could only dream off. since then it has turned into a almost cultish way with the high priests (aka the auction site owners) preaching to the converted and denigrating any heretics who have the temerity to suggest that the emperor clothes' are anything other than finest silk.

To me it feels like a hype bubble, with a few early subscribers driving the market, while the majority of people are going 'Meh'. There are also other concerns such as the legal status of the image, copyright ownership and the fact a huge amount of energy is being consumed to basically generate no real value, only virtual ones.

Of course I could be wrong and in 20 years time we will all be lovingly downloading our owned digital prints to display to our expectant descendants rather than the actual limited edition physical object. However something tells me that an original physical manifestation of say a painting will have better long term value than say the digital print of that object even if it is the only one signed by the objects creator

Revealed: Why Windows Task Manager took a cuddlier approach to (process) death and destruction


Why so long?

One of the things I have always wondered about windows is when you hit the shutdown button, what is it doing that takes so long? Sometimes it can be minutes until the shutdown occurs, meaning you have time to make a hot beverage of choice and still come back to see the spinning circle of death.

Ok, you need to flush buffers, etc, but it feels like the computer is spending its pending downtime transcribing war and peace using a hammer and chisel

Rather than End Tasks, i would of preferred the "Nuke em" option...

preferable from orbit,

just to be sure

Chromebook boom won’t outlive COVID-19 pandemic, says IDC


No they are used a lot in schools to. Basically if you are handing out a PC to kids, you want it to be as safe and as simple to use as possible.


For a long time I was ambivalent on Chromebooks. I mean a low power PC clone, which relied on being online most of the time, whats teh point of that.

Then my daughter wanted a laptop she could take to school. It was either a laptop of a chromebook, so I thought what the hell, go for a chromebook.

I'm glad I did. The form factor is perfect for travelling to school, and having no spinning rust means they are robust. The OS starts instantly, and I don't have to worry about AV protection and constant updates. As laptops are generally used by the majority of people to browse the web and write a few documents,run zoom etc ,there is little loss of functionality

My daughters normal laptop has virtually never been turned on once she got the chromebook. Personally I cannot see the point in spending 100's more on a fully featured laptop unless you have a niche requirement so rather than the world moving back when the crisis are over, I think a lot of people have found they do not need to spend the extra money for power and functionality they never use

John McAfee dead: Antivirus tycoon killed himself in prison after court OK'd extradition, says lawyer



He went out the way he always wanted...not with a whimper, but with a conspiracy theory

Anyone still using cash? British £50 banknote honouring Alan Turing arrives


I guess its ironic that he is being honoured on a note just as they are being made obsolete by technology he pioneered

Do you want speed or security as expected? Spectre CPU defenses can cripple performance on Linux in tests


Interesting article

The problem with most security articles is that they offer a black and white assessment of security. i.e there is a vulnerability and therefore you are exposed. Generally however there are a lot of greys. for example if an exploit requires local access only, then there are far fewer possibilities of exploits and other mitigations can be put in place.

So for a bare metal embedded system running on the x86 platform (yes, there are such things), there maybe little benefit with the security features as long as code is signed and booted via a TPM etc. Also if you are trying to wring out every last clock cycle, you may have to turn off any CPU draining features. (although generally jitter is more important than raw speed)

So in all cases potential exploits should not be taken at face value, and risk assessments should be done to define the mitigation strategy.

Windows 11: Meet the new OS, same as the old OS (or close enough)


"If you are comfortable with not keeping your machine up-to-date, pause updates, and then open RegEdit."

unfortunately on work machines, IT decide when you update. Yes they sometimes give you 4 hours grace, but thats not much help when you are in the middle of a long term test, or you take a day off and find you cannot remote access your PC bce it has been rebooted and waiting for someone to physically login to complete the update.


"Windows 10 is so much better than its antecedents that it has stopped being a problem."

But for some reason every few weeks I have to break my workflow while an enforced reboot is put on me.

Windows 10 is better than its antecedents, but we are left with the historical poor design decisions going back to windows 3.1, while more modern OS's such as ChromeOS are far less painful, its just that we have become so used to it, people thinks its normal to have to restart your whole hardware to fix bugs

UK gets glowing salute from Bezos-backed General Fusion: Nuclear energy company to build plant in Oxfordshire


Re: already got one

True, but there are large transmission losses and no one has managed to get it working for more than 12 hours in a day

Wanted: Brexit grand fromage. £120k a year. Perks? Hmmmm…


Isn't that a bit life jumping of a cliff, then trying to work out how to get a soft landing?

Mensa data spillage was due to 'unauthorised internal download'


The new Mensa test

Complete this sequence


NATO summit communiqué compares repeat cyberattacks to armed attacks – and stops short of saying 'one-in, all-in' rule will always apply


Its a bit like dropping a few bombs on another country, and then complaining when they retaliate in kind.

You can argue till the cows come home about whether Stuxnet was justified, but you cannot pretend that somehow the west is not an aggressor in this cyber war and in many ways indicated to China, Russia et al that cyber war could not be considered the same as normal warfare in terms of retaliation, so its a bit rich to be trying to change the rules now



Inventor of the graphite anode – key Li-ion battery tech – says he can now charge an electric car in 10 minutes


Re: Ain't nobody here but us battery chickens

You mean dump them when they get too old?


Re: A power station at each garage ?

i guess it depends on the efficiency of the present solution and whether the updated method reduces losses.

If the present method is slower, but less efficient, it could take more power, but obviously at a slower rate.

You could have a scenario however where at home, you use the slower system, because generally you can plug it in all night, while at a external charging station they use the faster method. The only problem with this is that you lose the advantage of longer term battery life

Want to keep working in shorts and flipflops way after this is all over? It could be time to rethink your career moves


We having been trying to hire a embedded software engineer for months and it appears to be a sellers market. The agency we employed to look basically told us that unless we offer flexible home working, we wouldn't even manage to get them to interview stage with 7 jobs per candidate.

My problem is how far do we go. I am still a believer that there is value in face to face working, but understand the attractions of WFH and it increases the pool of candidates. But i am not sure whether I am at the point where i would be happy employing someone who lived so far away that no travel into the office would be acceptable


Re: Interview cheats?

To be honest the ability to locate the correct stackoverflow page is pretty well a requirement nowdays. If the interview is asking questions about facts rather than problem solving, then maybe your interview questions need updating

FBI paid renegade developer $180k for backdoored AN0M chat app that brought down drug underworld


And the good people are often stunned that evil people can also be stupid.

The evil mastermind controlling the puppet strings from afar is a common thread in movies, but I'm pretty sure the reality is that most master criminals are more brawn than brain. Good at manipulation of people, but not great strategic minds

The common factor in all your failed job applications: Your CV


The Chinese solution...

Maybe the problem is the CV process...

C Northcote Parkinson recognized the problem years ago, and he suggested two solutions

The British solution is basically hire based on a strict hierarchy of which lord you were related too, or failing that which public school you attended. Obviously this would not work in our democratic world (although it is widely used in the civil service and banking). I am also not sure what the software equivalent would be. Maybe you have to describe which software guru you have studied under and those with the highest degree to Bacon be chosen

Alternatively is the Chinese system whose whole tenet is that anyone who actually applies should be rejected because anyone risking losing face so de facto rule them out. Instead the recruitment committee should go out and offer the job to to a known associate


Re: CV's top tips


I agree the biggest issue is that you have to meet multiple audiences, all who have different expectations. I can only go on what I look for in a CV, and that may well be different from those who do the initial filtering.

It is a bit like good design. A good CV is difficult to describe, but you know it when you see it. It is also possible that I miss some good candidates due to the HR front end not knowing what we are looking for.

and to be honest, as a developer, I am not so interested in what languages you know, rather your ability to fit in with the team, be a good problem solver, and can grow with the role. Unfortunately these soft skills are very hard to quantify on 2 pages of A4, and are unlikely to be picked up by HR anyway.

The only solution I can think of is that we cut the initial layers out altogether and let the people at the coal face do the filtering.


CV's top tips

Recently I've turned gamekeeper from poacher and I have had to review a number of CV's for an embedded software position. Generally most are pretty awful and it takes a long time to filter the information, so these are my top tips

1. Keep it simple - I know the issues of trying to get past the guard droids, but adding every acronym under the sun in the hope something sticks will not impress, and just makes my job harder. I want to know what work you did, not that you know VB6,RS232,TCPv4,X.25 etc. Add those to an appendix at the bottom. Do not use fancy fonts, weird colour backgrounds or large images of yourself (actually any image at all, I really don't care what you look like)

2. Keep it sparse - Again cramming information in small font just to sound impressive will not help me work out whether you are the right person for the job. I am trying to justify whether to take you to the next stage, if you add too much the information gets lost in the noise

3.Keep it relevant - I do not need to know that you worked for Tesco at the age of 16 unless it was to develop their POS system

4.Keep it professional - I am looking for a potential employee, not a best friend. Personal jokes and anecdotes don't really sit well

5.keep it brief - 20 page essays may look to you impressive, but to me it is just hard work

6.Be prepared to stand by what you put on the CV - we all exaggerate on our CV's a bit. However outright lies are remarkable easy to spot and in the interview process you will get interrogated about them.

7. Target the job - this is my biggest recommendation. Do not write one CV and use it for all jobs. Look at what the job is asking for and write your CV to address that. A covering letter indicating why you are interested in the job, and why you feel you are appropriate is also good, because it shows you have researched the company and role and are likely to hang around more than 3 months if offered the job

Royal Yacht Britannia's successor to cost about 1 North of England NHS IT consultancy framework


£200m is a drop in the ocean (pun intended) in terms of the UK budget and the recent year or twos worth of borrowing

In terms of government expenditure it does not sound a lot, but considering the total budget for export trade mission is about £438 million, it is a lot in this context

But of course we know it will not cost £200m. Firstly this will be a government contract, so there will be lots of oversight, departmental in-fighting so £50 mill will be spent just on standard government bureaucracy. Then there will be the feature creep. It will need a bigger helipad, ocean refueling, encrypted comms, protection measures, rtc. To be honest 200m will be just the design phase, triple that to get the boat built and off the ramp if you are lucky

Then will be the long term cost of running, manning it and maintaining it. We have the cost of moving this floating gin palace around the world, and hope it it is not needed in Mexico 2 weeks after docking in Chennai.

Also there is the issues of security. Embassies etc are relatively easy to protect, but a moving, floating representation of the UK government heading just outside Iranian territorial waters? It may need its own frigate escort just to get to some places

But as you say it would be worth it if it gets us a better trade deal. But how do you prove that? Our major export competitors seem to manage without Boris' knob extension, so maybe it would be better looking at how our competitors succeed rather than harking back to some imperialistic past which no longer exists.


Its amazing how Germany, Netherlands etc have managed to export more without a their own yacht.

However I am sure they will regret their oversight when our yacht sails serenely into Seoul, Beijing, New Delhi, and the natives will be so blown away by this magnificent technology that they will instantly put in orders for Piccalilly, Potato crisps or whatever else the UK still makes

(or alternatively, the money could be just spent reinforcing the trade missions in the targeted countries, funding R&D at home, improving UK infrastructure, etc )

Need some chips? The Raspberry Pi Pico's RP2040 is heading to a channel near you


Re: No competition

One advantage are the pio's that allow you to drive hardware interfaced at almost dedicated hardware speed, but defined purely in software

Internet Explorer downgraded to 'Walking Dead' status as Microsoft sets date for demise


Lets nuke it from space, its the only way to make sure

IE has probably caused me more work over the years to maintain browser compatibility. The only reason it will be missed is that there are still some sites that only seem to work properly in IE, so it was an unwelcome, but important tool. It was basically the dog pooh bag of the world. You didn't want to have it, using it was messy, but it was a bit better than the alternative

The Starship has landed. Latest SpaceX test comes back to Earth without igniting fireballs


"I aim at the stars, but sometimes I hit London"

- Wernher von Braun

FSF doubles down on Richard Stallman's return: Sure, he is 'troubling for some' but we need him, says org


The world keeps turning

Firstly we have to accept, whatever we feel about Stallman's private morals and statements, he was a pioneer and leader in the open source revolution and as coders or users we have a lot to be thankful for.

However, the world has moved on a lot since those days. Open source is no longer the plucky freedom fighter fighting the corporate behemoths, pretty well every corporation in the world accepts it and utilises it. Companies like Red Hat are the big companies themselves and even Microsoft has embraced it in a way that was unimaginable even a few years ago. Therefore, the role of the FSF is no longer sniping from the trenches but working out how to create links and connections with big business while maintaining its ideals.

There is no world where I can see Stallman playing a constructive part in that. It would be like inviting Che Guevara to take up a cabinet post in a democratically elected government. Booch was dead right when he said that if the FSF cannot do without Stallman it is no longer a progressive organization, just a cult

SpaceX's Starlink: Overhyped and underpowered to meet broadband needs of Rural America, say analysts


Re: £500 million

" It seems that such an upgrade is trivial"



Over a decade on, and millions in legal fees, Supreme Court rules for Google over Oracle in Java API legal war


Re: What does Microsoft think?

SQL did not become a ANSI standard till 1986. Oracle 2, a SQL-based RDBMS was produced in 1979. Oracle was basically started as a cheap clone of IBM system R


Re: Unbelievable

Ok, looked at dissenting opinion from Thomas (https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/20pdf/18-956_d18f.pdf)

Any statement that starts with

"Oracle spent years developing a programming library that successfully attracted software developers, thus enhancing the value of Oracle’s products."

Is obviously a rewrite of history (Sun developed it, encouraged use. Oracle just bought the company). The rest is just Thomas decrying that the verdict will harm Oracles bottom line, but misses the bigger picture and fundamentals of the case.

In short a typical Thomas opinion based on narrow minded bias, rather than looking at the overall picture


Re: Wah Wah Wah! Oracle! They don't like the ruling!

"Does anyone use Java for new projects these days?"

I think this is an important point. The big loser in this case is Java. Since the case has been going on, the uncertainty has meant that other languages such as kotlin and swift have come about and diluted the space Java once held.

without this case Java could of become the general purpose language the Sun envisaged, but a combination of legal doubts and Oracle's contract power grabs has meant Java is far less attractive than it once was


Re: Your starter for 10...

Ah, Andrew....No doubt at some point we will see a piece where he eats humble pie, probably delayed because his oven in hell has frozen over


Re: Unbelievable

I'd be interested to know what the dissenting opinions were. Clarence Thomas, despite being pretty well the most right wing and useless SC judge on the majority of issues, only saving grace is that he is is supposed to be the court expert on copyright, and is the one issue where the others defer.


Re: What does Microsoft think?

I'll take MS and raise you Oracle.

Oracle and Larry have made billions implementing SQL, created and developed by IBM.

If Oracle had won this it would of been the ultimate hypocrisy that the company which literally came about by copying a language API's restricted others from doing similar

IBM, Red Hat face copyright, antitrust lawsuit from SCO Group successor Xinuos


Re: SOU-nix! Ah, you almost had me....

Sadly the difference between a good April fool joke and corporate stupidity is a narrow one.

Unfortunately in the case it appears to be true Corporate stupidity, the business version of someone coming up with the words "I've got a cunning plan" before charging the machine guns disguised as a pantomime horse.

Alternatively it is just a sign of desperation in the hope to ring out a bit of cash to support a failing business model, basically corporate blackmail, the kind the US legal system seem to pimp so well. Unfortunately for them (and fortunately for the rest of us), they will quickly find those photos purportedly showing the partys In flagrante delicto, are actually some grainy polaroid's taken at their step mums hen party

Report: Microsoft is thinking about splashing $10bn on Discord to slot it next to Skype, Mixer...


standard MS business model

Spend billions take over a competitor, destroy its core functionality to fit better into the windows business model, reduce funding until a competitor comes in and replaces it, spend billions creating your own version that does the same thing.

To be honest, I don't know why everytime they buy these things they just instead pile a few billion greenbacks in a big bonfire and publically set light to it. I think they would be more cost efficient


Because it's still better than Teams?

Ha Ha Ha...Oh wait you were being serious

Ever since moving to teams we have not used Skype for idiots..sorry, business , once

We have not missed to constant nagging, the 5% of CPU cycles and the awful user interface. The only benefit from SFB is for external phone calls.

Teams on the other hand has been constantly improved, features added and is one stop shop for team communications, incorporating groups, calendar management, chat, video conferencing. I am not saying it is perfect, and zoom is far more fun, but seriously Skype is a legacy dinosaur that needs killing off

The Roaring Twenties: Future foreign policy will rely on rejuvenated 'cyber' sector, UK government claims


Offence vs Defence

Problem with an emphasis on offensive cyber capability is that the tools you utilise are easily stolen and used against you. It also means there is tendency to hoard vulnerabilities, rather than address them, in the hope that at some point you can weaponise them. This results in a lack of defensive capability.

And that is a big issue in the west where we increasingly rely on sophisticated automation and structures to do pretty well everything, while the rest of the world is far less susceptible to attack since it tends to have at best a mixture of manual and automation. As someone said, the Wests infrastructure is far harder to attack, but once the defences are breached, an attack can be far more destructive and harder to recover from.

So this is a pretty stupid policy, only designed to pander to the Britain 1st brigade. The only plus point is it will probably end up like most of UK long terms industrial strategies, a footnote in some historical economists dissertation

A Code War has replaced The Cold War. And right now we’re losing it


Re: Rust to the rescue?

Nope I meant 9 9s https://stackoverflow.com/questions/8426897/erlangs-99-9999999-nine-nines-reliability

In truth that is based on system uptime, but the techniques were there to achieve a high level of predictability and uptime. Code supervisors and the ability to hot swap code go a long way, plus the lack of side effects in functional languages


Re: Rust to the rescue?

Delivering reliable software on a large scale has been achievable for years. I was working on applications that delivered 9 9's reliability in the 90's and most of the internet architecture is based on similar concepts.

The big problem was it required moving away from the standard software paradigm and use concepts like functional programming, which despite its benefits has (and maybe always) be niche. Generally companies found it easier to shoehorn on features rather than use languages and architectures which natively supported them. While i understand the attractiveness of Rust, i am not convinced it will do any better.


I would also recommend Sandworm: A New Era of Cyberwar and the Hunt for the Kremlin's Most Dangerous Hackers by Andy greenberg

Remember that day in 2020 when you were asked to get the business working from home – by tomorrow?


Home Office working

The thing I remember most about the day was that I was already in a turf war with corporate IT about home working policy. For 4 years we were given a RSA key that allowed us to VPN into the corporate LAN allowing me to RDP to my work laptop. This was in no ways perfect since often it would not work well, but adequate for the 5 or 6 days required, but when I complained about it they were aghast and said this was not allowed (I'm an embedded developer so taking all the kit home from work is generally not an option). Instead they said I would need 2nd corporate laptop loaded with the IT spyware. However I knew that getting this past the corporate bean counters would be a nightmare (They had already balked at paying for a "engineering" class laptop, deciding that since the standard was good enough for excel it was good enough for anybody )

Then we were told we had to go home, and there was a mass scramble for any kit that could be used. Those who had opted for towers rather than laptops, found themselves dragging huge pieces of iron back home, plus screens and their development kit. I was rather lucky here. Due to my argument about which laptop to get I had been delivered two corporate laptops, one which was stuck in my draw waiting to be returned, still boxed. I turned it on, loaded it with the corporate software, checked it connected to the LAN, outlook etc and took that home allowing me to RDP into my kit. (I still periodically get emails complaining I have two laptops which I file in the "not living in the real world" column)

The next problem was setting a home office up. Fortunately I have my own space, but we also now had my wife who was also working from home and my two teenage children all furloughed from school and university. Again I was fortunate, not only by being an inveterate IT hoarder (much to my wife's disgust, but now relief) so I had enough spare ethernet switches, USB hubs, screens, keyboards and mouses to setup basically 4 work stations, but I had only recently moved from ADSL to fibre broadband (although not the super fast variety). Initially there were worries that it would not support the parallel zoom and team video talks, but has held up pretty well especially after I added powerline wifi extenders.

and to give corporate IT their due, they rolled out a VPN solution quickly which allowed pretty well seamless VPN connection without the need for a RSA key (as long as you were lucky enough to win the laptop lottery)

However I am one of the lucky one. I have a reasonable broadband connection, a big enough house so that we are not jumping on top of each other and enough IT kit and knowhow to get it working and maintain it. Many, including some of my colleagues, were not so lucky and for many it has been a real struggle

It also proves to me that what IT says is not possible is often down to inertia and intransigence. The ability to do this has been around for years, but due to management suspicion (if you work from home, how can we trust you) lack of foresight and simple inertia it never was

However the big takeaway is that for years there was big resistance to home working, but that has been blown out of the water. It will be interesting to see how many companies revert back to type when all this is over. My feeling is that the genii is out the bottle, and for me any forcing back to the status quo is just not going to work. This raises the issue of what they will do with those expensive offices in an around London when people realise that they can do their job just as well without the expensive commutes

The perils of non-disclosure? China 'cloned and used' NSA zero-day exploit for years before it was made public


Offence vs Defence

One of the big issues with US cyber security policy at present, is the emphasis on offence. Ever since Stuxnet, there has been a weaponization of the cyber space, because it is considered a low risk way to extend extend military power, gain intelligence etc.

So rather than a defensive posture and helping ensure that critical infrastructure is a secure as possible, the NSA etc have hoarded known vulnerabilities so that they can use them for themselves. Problem is NK, China and Russia are basically using the tools used against them and turning it against the West, with viruses like NotPetya, Sandworm etc.

If we really want to be serious about stopping hacking and guard things like the power grid, the US government needs to change the emphasis to reducing vulnerabilities, not exploiting them.

Intel sues former staffer for allegedly stealing Xeon cloud secrets in USB drives and exploiting info at Microsoft


Re: MAC address

MAC addresses can be changed or spoofed

Foundation thrillogy: Rust programming language gets new home and million-dollar spending account


Re: Can this run on a toaster?

well to me it provides the closeness to hardware as C, while removing some of the issues that c and c++ has with side effects that makes safe multi-processor programming a challenge. So it could be used on high performance systems with a safety element (i.e require predictability). There are other languages out there that offer the same, but it does not require you to learn another programming paradigm like functional programming.

What shouldn't you use it for? Well like C, you can probably do most things in it. Whether you should is another question

Raspberry Pi Foundation moves into microcontrollers with the $4 Pi Pico using homegrown silicon


Re: What a shame they didn't go down the RiscV route...

"Help me out here, is "PIO" the same sort of thing as Arduino CCL configurable logic - a bunch of programmable logic gates that are code-configured but operate independent of the CPUs?"

I think CCL on steroids. The CCL look pretty well one shot triggers while the PIO's run some sort of microcode which makes them more flexible, while being as fast

look at this example where someone output a HDMI feed purely through software logic https://github.com/Wren6991/PicoDVI



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